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Mechanical Challenge

Games offer us challenges on many levels. When someone plays a game too much it’s easy to think they are taking an easy route to something entertaining, like junk food. But video games are generally hard work. It takes time to understand their systems, mechanics, objectives and worlds.

There are a small group of games that hone this challenge down to the mechanics of moving around the environment. Whereas many games simplify getting around, these games make the complexity and depth of their movement systems part of the joy of playing them.

Rather than relying on the stats of your character or player, you have to execute the moves yourself with timing proficiency and instinct. Rather than offering assistance, these games leave you to it. Whether you rise through the league tables, or just improve compared to your family, the satisfaction or getting to grips with something so monumentally challenging is really satsifying.

This might be understanding how the propulsion of your car lets you take to the air and hit a perfect shot in Rocket League. Or, perhaps, it’s using the limited running and jumping slightly better than other players to get a win in Fall Guys. Maybe it’s learning the perfect combinatino of angles and trajectories in Video Ball. Or it could be learning the complex move lists in a game like Street Fighter.

These games all have in common, a complex control system that can be put to use in imaginative and creative ways to get the edge over your oppoenents.
 

Unto The End

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Fighting, Narrative, Role-Playing and Simulation

Duration: Between 5 hours and 7 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Free-to-start.

Unto The End is a cinematic combat-adventure where the fighting is modelled in a read-and-react style. It requires time to master the unusual system but offers many ways to take on foes. Tactics and intelligent decisions are as important for survival as...


Offroad Mania

Platforms: PC and Web Browser

Genres: Puzzle and Racing

Duration: Between 3 minutes and 10 minutes to play a round.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Offroad Mania is a physics focused driving game that has you trying to navigate difficult off-road terrain. It's unusual because of the focus on travseral, vehicle administration and driving skill.


Rocket League

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action and Sports

Duration: Between 5 minutes and 10 minutes to play a round.

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 6 players online.

Costs: Purchase cost. Season pass and in-game purchases.

Drive futuristic cars to score goals with an oversized football. It’s another game that sounds ridiculous but is actually a huge amount of fun to play and requires a lot of expertise. What’s not obvious from the start is the level of control that...


Drink More Glurp

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Action, Simulation and Sports

Duration: Between 1 minute and 3 minutes to play a round.

Players: You can play with 20 players in the same room and up to 1 player online.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Drink More Glurp is a wacky sports game where you take turns to play athletic challenges. The twist is that you have to control your over-long arms with a separate joystick and your body is a wheel you can roll along on if you lift your arms right up....


QWOP

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Action, Simulation and Sports

Duration: Between 1 minute and 3 minutes to play a round.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Free.

QWOP is a sports game with a difference. You have to control each limb of your virtual athlete. This changes it from a challenge of hitting buttons to using the touch screen or keyboard to deftly co-ordinate movement to gain forward motion. It's really...


Super Pole Riders

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4

Genres: Fighting and Sports

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online.

Costs: Purchase cost.

A cross between the high jump, jousting and basketball, Super Pole Riders is a simple game where four players must get a ball hanging from a wire to the opponent’s goal using long poles. It’s the controls that make this game so much of a giggle to...


Outward

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Duration: Between 50 hours and 75 hours to complete.

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 2 players online.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

Outward is a fantasy adventure focused on an ordinary character surviving against the odds. There's a focus on realism rather than superpowers or magical abilities. You have to look after your warmth, hunger, fatigue, illness, and thirst as well as the...


Fight Crab

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Fighting and Simulation

Duration: Between 1 minute and 5 minutes to play a round.

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Fight Crab is an fighting game where you battle with weaponised crabs. But rather than pressing buttons to pull off moves, you have to work with the game’s over-the-top physics. This combines with giant crustaceans, insane weapons and claws to create...


The Long Dark

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Duration: Between 19 hours and 30 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

The Long Dark is a thoughtful exploration-survival game where you have crash-landed in the icy Canadian wilderness after a global disaster and must find a way to survive. Through exploring, crafting and fighting you must look after your body...


Dark Souls (Series)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Strategy

Duration: Between 50 hours and 100 hours to complete.

Players: You can play this with 6 players online.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Souls is a series of fighting and exploration games. From third-person perspective you navigate interconnected locations while fighting enemies with weapons and magic. Larger boss enemy encounters progress the story. The games are known for their...


Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

Duration: Between 28 hours and 38 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an adventure fighting game set in the Sengoku period in Japan. You play a shinobi known as Wolf, who has lost an arm, as he attempts to take revenge on a samurai clan who attacked him and kidnapped his lord.


 




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